Ida Leads Field on First Day at Wimberly Intercollegiate

LAS CRUCES, N.M. Joe Ida fired back-to-back rounds of 68 and joined Texas Tech’s Garrett Merrell at the top of the leader board at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate at New Mexico Golf Course on Monday. Ida was one of two Wildcats in the top-10 and pushed K-State to a first-day tie for third.

Ida, who led the Wildcats through last week’s Club Glove Intercollegiate, was 6-under at the conclusion of Monday’s rounds and along with Mitchell Gregson finished in the top-10. Kansas State shot 280-286566 (-2) and tied Nevada for third after 36 holes. K-State was six strokes behind second-place Texas-Arlington and nine strokes behind tournament-leader Texas Tech.

“We had a good day to play, the weather was just absolutely perfect,” K-State head coach Tim Norris said. “The breeze came up a little bit this afternoon, but after being down there in Southern California, this was a welcome relief. It’s a very fair golf course, but there are any number of holes that can jump up and bite you. It’s not an easy course, but if you went out and played pretty solid, you had a chance to shoot under par. We had some under-par rounds today which was nice to see.”

Ida was particularly thrifty with strokes on par-3 holes, taking a field-low 2.75 strokes to finish them off. On one par-3, Ida hit the ball 15 yards over the green, in part because of tricky winds, but hit a high lob shot within eight feet of the hole and made the putt.

“He looked really calm today,” Norris said. “I knew he was playing well. It didn’t look like anything was going to get to him. He was in a good frame of mind, if something was to go wrong he was in good frame to get out of it.

“He stays in the moment, that’s what I saw was the key to success. For the whole 36 holes he was very calm and kept hitting it down the middle. He drilled the ball exceptionally well today, and I think he’ll tell you that. That was the key, driving the ball and keeping it in play.”

On another par-3 with the pin positioned at the front of the green and bunkers in front, Ida went up a club and escaped the trouble by hitting past the hole. With good distance control, he ended up 15 feet from the hole instead of 40 or 50 feet.

“He took the danger out of the hole,” Norris said. “He’s got a couple of new shots in his bag. He’s a better player and has improved his mechanics this year. It helps when you don’t have to recover as much. When you hit fairways, hit greens you have more chances to make birdies.”

Gregson opened Monday’s competition with a 1-under 70 and shaved one stroke off his tally in the second to finish the day 70-69139 (-3) and in a three-way tie for fifth place. Gregson leads the Wildcats with all 14 of his rounds being counted for the team score this fall.

“He let some chances get away,” Norris said. “He had some short putts he thought he made, but if you keep giving yourself those chances, maybe tomorrow they’ll drop a little. He’s been very consistent. It’s just a continuation of the way he played this summer and last spring for us. He had a few hot rounds in the Spring, maybe he’s due tomorrow.”

K-State’s Robert Streb shot a 2-under 69 in the opening round before falling off slightly with a 78 in round two. Streb was tied with teammate Ross Geubelle for 45th as both golfers finished the first day with 5-over 147’s. Kyle Smell was tied for 63rd with a 73-76149 (+7).

Guebelle, a red-shirt freshman, is making his first trip with the team as part of the scoring lineup. Guebelle improved from round one to round two and his second-round 73 was counted towards the K-State total.

“Ross was a little nervous this morning I’m sure,” Norris said. “He’s such a good competitor and has such a good spirit about him. I hope we can take him to some more events and watch his game grow a bit. He’s going to plug and plug away, and it’s nice to see when you have depth like that on the team.”

Kansas State returns to the links tomorrow with an 8 a.m. (MT) shotgun start. With a nice finishing round the Wildcats could be in position to capture their first tournament win of the season and first since the Nestle Purina Classic on Oct. 7, 2003.

“We need four really good scores,” Norris said. “I know there will be some hole locations that will be more difficult tomorrow, but guys have rounds under their belt. Whatever the difficulty, hopefully they can counteract that with the course knowledge. If we can get four rounds in the sixties, I don’t think that’s out of the question. Whether or not that’s good enough to win tomorrow, that’s some pretty solid golf. I thought the last round last week was really a big round for us as far as hanging on. Hopefully the guys can do the same type of job as they did last Tuesday.”

Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate
New Mexico State Golf Course
Las C
ruces, N.M.
Par 71, 7,074 yards

Team Scores: 1. Texas Tech 274-283557; 2. Texas-Arlington 282-278560; T3. Nevada 274-292566; T3. Kansas State 280-286566; 5. Loyola Marymount 285-286571; 6. Cal Poly 287-286573; 7. Louisiana-Monroe 285-290575; 8. Miami (Ohio) 292-284576; 9. Ball State 286-291577; 10. New Mexico State 288-291579; 11. South Alabama 292-288580; 12. Northern Colorado 292-289581; 13. Washington State 295-289584; 14. Rice 292-299591; 15. Texas-El Paso 293-301594; 16. Nebraska 296-307603; 17. Towson 310-295605.

Top-5 Individuals: T1. Joe Ida, Kansas St., 68-68136 (-6); T1. Garrett Merrell, Texas Tech, 64-72136 (-6); 3. Sergio Franky, Texas Tech, 69-68137 (-5); 4. Chase Cooper, Nevada, 67-71138 (-4); T5. Mitchell Gregson, Kansas St., 70-69139 (-3) T5. Zack Reeves, Texas-Arlington, 70-69139 (-3); T5. Bobby Massa, Texas-Arlington, 70-69139 (-3).

K-State Individuals: T1. Joe Ida 68-68136; T5. Mitchell Gregson 70-69139; T45. Robert Streb 69-78147; T45. Ross Geubelle 74-73147; T63. Kyle Smell 73-76149.